|Photo- Getty Images
By Jason Schultz
A long weekend for Keselowski ends in triumph.
Keselowski dominated the second-half of the race and took the checkers at Kentucky Speedway Saturday Night. Keselowski had a bunch of issues throughout the weekend, including a backup car and broken steering wheel but the Miller Lite team did not give up. They persevered, with their hard work paying off with a trip to victory lane.
Overall, the race wasn’t too exciting but it did include some action. The passing started early when Kyle Busch passed pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson on the first lap for the lead.
Tony Stewart started experiencing ignition issues in lap 26 and was in and out of the garage for most of the night. Stewart ended the race finishing in 32nd-place, taking a hit in the point standings by dropping four spots to ninth.
Brad Keselowski took the lead for the first time on lap 35 when he got around Kyle Busch.
The first caution of the night came out on lap 42 when debris was spotted in turns one and two. On the restart, Kyle Bush won the race off it road to re-gain the lead, followed by Johnson, Hamlin, Keselowski and Earnhardt Jr.
On lap 96, the first round of green-flag pit stops began, and after the stops cycled through, Kyle Busch was the leader.
The next yellow-flag came out on lap 124 for debris. Kyle Busch would once again be the leader coming to the restart.
On lap 130, Hamlin scooted around Busch for the lead.
Dave Blaney’s engine expired on lap 149 and the caution came out once again.
On lap 160, Ryan Newman ran up the track into Logano’s slower car on the front-stretch and tapped Logano down into Bowyer. No cars spun and no caution came out. As a result of this scuffle, Logano was even slower on the track and Bowyer pitted to repair damage to his No. 15 car.
By lap 189, Jimmie Johnson became the new leader. The top-five on lap 190 were Johnson, Hamlin, Keselowski, Gordon and Earnhardt Jr.
The next cycle of green-flag stops began on lap 201. Fuel was tight on this stop with Keselowski and Kyle Busch both running out of gas before making their way onto pit road.
The next caution flew on lap 210 when Ryan Newman blew an engine and spun into the wall. Newman left behind some oil which Regan Smith found and he also tagged the wall.
The dominant car from the first part of the race was Kyle Busch and now the No.18 crew struck trouble once again. Busch was complaining of a shock issue and the team told him to keep running. During this caution, the team pitted to evaluate the issue. Nothing seemed severely wrong, so Busch continued the race.
Coming to the restart, Keselowski was the leader followed by Hamlin, Kenseth, Edwards and Johnson. Just after the restart, Hamlin would get around Edwards for second and he began to chase down Keselowski. Hamlin never reached Keselowski but Kahne reached Hamlin for second with three to go.
Although Kahne got around Hamlin for second with three to go, time ran out for Kahne to improve his position.
Keselowski picked up his third win of the season and his first Cup win at Kentucky. In victory lane, Keselowski said that his team had “fought through adversary all weekend.”
This win essentially put a lock on a Chase bid for Keselowski. With three wins before the official halfway mark of the season, Keselowski is looking pretty good.
Kahne said after the race that he “wish(ed) we could of caught Keselowski, we need these wins.”
After the highs and lows for Kyle Busch during this race, he ended up finishing tenth which is a good run, considering all the trouble he experienced throughout the race.
The Hendrick organization had a great night with all four of their cars placing finishes in the top six.
Keselowski is likely the first of many drivers to essentially clinch chase berths throughout the summer. Perseverance was the name of the game for Keselowski this weekend and he ended up in victory lane.
Next week teams go down to Daytona to celebrate a Fourth of July tradition – NASCAR action at Daytona. The fireworks will definitely be going off next Saturday Night.
Results via Nascar.com and Point Standings
Jimmie Johnson wins his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole award since 2010 with a record-breaking lap speed of 181.818-mph.
As the only five-time champion in NASCAR’s history, Johnson now holds the track record over Kyle Busch who was awarded the distinction in the inaugural Quaker State 400’s practice session, when the traditional qualifying process was rained out in 2011.
Over the last couple years, qualifying has been a challenge for the No. 48 team. So Johnson was pleased with their 2012 qualifying performance at Kentucky Speedway’s first real qualifying event for the Sprint Cup series.
“It was a very comfortable lap, a very good lap. Qualifying has not been our strong suit the last two years, so we’re happy to get this pole today,” said Jimmie Johnson. “The conditions were so slick, it took a while to get the feeling I was looking for. We’re on the right track now.”
Although, this weekend is only the second Sprint Cup Series race at the track, Johnson says he’s not unfamiliar with it’s unique characteristics, which may have served him well in getting his car ready for qualifying and racing on Saturday night.
“This track has so much character. It would be great to win here at Kentucky. We used to test here a lot back in the day. Turns 3 and 4 have taken quite a few 48 race cars from us, so last year was good for me. I came back with a lot of confidence,” Johnson said.
|2012 Kentucky Pole Winner Jimmie Johnson
Photo – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Joining Jimmie Johnson on the front row, Kyle Busch will certainly provide some competition for the five-time champion in the Quaker State 400 as he became the first driver to earn race wins in four different series at Kentucky Speedway when he took the checkered flag at the last year’s Quaker State 400. Busch, known as a talented wheelman still start the race on Saturday night having led 704 of the 1,819 Kentucky Speedway laps he’s raced while racking up a total six top-five and eight top-ten finishes across a combined ten Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Truck, and ARCA Racing series starts.
Although his qualifying effort fell short of expectations, Kyle Busch goes into the Quaker State 400 with a level of confidence, based on his past performance at the track.
“I was certainly hoping for a little bit more there, but we weren’t able to achieve what we needed to,” said Kyle Busch. “We’re going into tomorrow night’s race with good pit selection and we’re starting up front, which is good for us. I typically don’t qualify well, but this is a place where we know what we have to do to qualify well.”
Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin qualified third with a lap speed of 181.147-mph. But the challenge for Joe Gibbs Racing drivers continues to be their engine failures during the 2012 season thus far. The money question for the Gibbs racing drivers remains, will their engines hold up for the duration of the race tonight?
The inaugural Kentucky Speedway Nationwide series winner, Kevin Harvick will start along-side Denny Hamlin in the second row with his qualifying lap of 180.367-mph and will represent Richard Childress Racing in the quest to continue breaking records in the second annual event at Kentucky Speedway Saturday night.
Tune in tonight on TNT for their 6:30pm ET pre-race show with the race scheduled to begin around 7:30pm ET.
For this race, Fan4Racing is conducting a Race Day Chat on our Official Facebook page. Click the “Let’s Talk” chatroom link. Or fans can join the conversation by clicking the Race Day Chat page link on our Fan4Racing site. Space is limited, so plan to join us early. See you there!
- Join Fan4Racing writers for a live Race Day Chat for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Quaker State 400
- The live event will begin at 5:30pm CDT – the race is scheduled to begin around 6:30pm CDT.
- You can access this live event in two ways
- This live event is FREE and participants are not required to log-in to be a listener for the event.
- To participate in the discussion, you may choose to sign-in via your twitter or facebook account, or log-in as a guest – it’s up to you.
- If you can’t watch this event on TV, this is a great way to still participate and get updates of the Quaker State 400 race action. Just bookmark the page on your mobile phone to receive live updates throughout the race.
- Space is limited, so be sure to arrive early to secure your place in the Race Day Chat discussion.
- PLEASE NOTE: Once all participants log-off the chatroom, following the race, the discussion will not be saved. Therefore, there are no replays available for this Race Day Chat.
By Jason Schultz
A way millions of fans view each NASCAR race every weekend, has turned into a big issue. There are some good things about NASCAR broadcasts but there are some bad things as well.
This season the TV coverage from FOX Sports and TNT has been disapointing. A few of the bad aspects of the TV coverage are; not seeing great racing action because the TV is showing a driver running by himself without any cars around, and missing a spin, most notably this past weekend at Sonoma.
Most years ESPN comes in at Indianapolis with great coverage, usually the best of the season.
In Danica Patrick’s three races of the season, we’ve seen more coverage of a car three laps down than ever before. Without NASCAR being broadcasted on TV, many people wouldn’t be watching the action all weekend long. So fans shouldn’t be complaining about the lack of good coverage when they’re lucky they can view the race each weekend.
Another issue is the commercials. We’ve seen a ridiculous amount of commercials. FOX attempted to do side by side coverage at the end of the race, but that wasn’t enough. Some commercial breaks came so close together that in a time span of ten minutes, we saw more minutes of commercials than actual track time. We all know that TV needs to show commercials during any broadcast, but do they need this many?
This year’s TV coverage hasn’t been all bad. Some of the good aspects of TV coverage this year are the interaction with twitter and more in-depth analysis. Twitter has become a huge part of the sport this year and TV has adapted to the new form of interaction.
It all started in Daytona for the 500 when Brad Keselowski sent out the tweet heard ’round the world. During the red flag period for the famous jet-dryer issue, Brad Keselowski took out his Sprint iPhone, which was in his car, and took a picture from inside his car of his view of the jet-dryer issue. That tweet gained him over 150,000 followers and he became the name associated with NASCAR and twitter.
That started a trend where FOX showed different tweets throughout the race broadcast. TNT has picked up what FOX did with twitter and they’re showing a bunch of tweets from drivers, media members and even NASCAR executives. Tweets during the broadcast help fans better understand different events happening on the track.
Another good aspect of TV coverage this year is the in-depth analysis provided by lap-by-lap announcers. Larry McReynolds has been on FOX and TNT’s coverage and he is great for helping fans better understand what happens under the cars’ hood and why different cars have certain issues. On TNT’s coverage Larry has his “tool box” of little gadgets he uses throughout the race to enhance the broadcast.
During FOX’s broadcast they used Jeff Hammond to venture around the track and find different and unique aspects of the race. During the Kansas race, Hammond went out to the track viewing area in the new casino that sits outside turn two.
These good new aspects of TV coverage almost make up for the bad aspects.
Overall, NASCAR TV coverage has good and bad things about it, and as fans, we should be thankful for the coverage because at least we get to view the races each and every weekend.
Most of the bad issues will eventually be fixed and we can watch the race without the problems. For now, we should enjoy NASCAR coming into our homes each weekend.
|Photo – ESPN|
Sometimes change is necessary and such will be the case for Matt Kenseth at the conclusion of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. While no reason has been given for the change, it will mark the end of one of the longest driver/team combinations currently in NASCAR. Kenseth’s 2013 replacement will be 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series and up and coming driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Reiser no longer atop the pit box, it became a bit of a struggle for Kenseth, with 2008-2010 being some of the more difficult years of his career, despite winning the 2009 Daytona 500 and the following race of that season. And crew chief changes became rampant with each season that passed. In 2010, Kenseth was finally paired with Jimmy Fennig, who has brought success back to the #17 team in the form of three wins in 2011 and a 4th-place points finish. And certainly that kind of success is reminiscent of the Reiser days.
|Photo – Getty Images|
|Photo- Getty Images
By Jason Schultz
Date- Saturday June 30th, 2012
Location- Sparta, Kentucky
Start time- 7:46 PM EST
Distance- 267 Laps, 400 Miles
Broadcast TV- TNT
Broadcast Radio- MRN
High 102 F Low 74 F
Chance of rain- 10%
HOT! Partly Cloudy
Past Race Winners
2011- Kyle Busch
Notables yet to win Quaker State 400
Dale Earnhardt Jr
News & Notes
Kyle Busch looks to remain only Sprint Cup Winner at Kentucky
Clint Bowyer looks to win back-to-back races
Michael Waltrip is running a “Kentucky National Champions” paint scheme
Kenseth looks to move on from announcing leaving Roush at end-of-the-season and win Kentucky
Kenseth looks to remain point’s leader
Johnson looks to win on track he has never won on before
Kentucky traffic problems should be resolved
No expected sell-out this year
Jason’s Fantasy Racing Picks
Group A- Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson
Group B- Martin Truex Jr, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kasey Kahne, A.J Allmendinger
Group C- Aric Almirola, Michael Waltrip
Cup Practice 11:30 AM EST Friday on SPEED
Cup Practice 1:30 PM EST Friday on SPEED
Cup Qualifying 5:00 PM EST Friday on SPEED
Cup Race 6:30 PM EST Saturday on TNT
Next race- Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, Florida
Entry List via Nascar.com